Sacramento: "We have a great team, but I'm troubled by one thing," commented Eric during a recent coaching call. "I'm our team's Rainmaker, and I probably spend 70 percent of my time out of the office meeting with clients and networking. If I talk about client contacts during team meetings, everyone is attentively taking notes. When I switch to networking activities, the pencils go down and their attention begins to wander."
Eric is one of the Rainmakers who recently responded to our request for Rainmaker Best Practices, so I was especially interested to know why his team's indifference toward networking bothered him so. His response was telling: "Even though the primary roles of other team members are focused on client support, I think it's unwise to have no one but the team Rainmaker making efforts to connect with the affluent of our community."
Rainmakers, those who bring in 10 or more million-dollar clients each year, are masters at networking. Eric certainly is. They fill their week with high-impact networking activities. And as I stressed in the last issue, they approach each activity with strategic intent.
Rainmakers learn to take networking to a higher level. They are admired for their ability to establish rapport, gain credibility, and earn trust -- as we are discovering from the Rainmaker Best Practices we are receiving from around the country. It's a mistake, however, to assume that the Rainmaker is the only team member who should be networking. Because rapport, credibility, and trust are critical components of loyal client relationships, your team will be best served when several key members are out in the community each week making a strategic effort to connect with prospective clients. They don't need to match the intensity and skill of their Rainmaker, but their efforts should be driven by strategic intent.
There is much to be gained by networking. The team members involved will ...
- Become more comfortable with being around the wealthy, influential people of your community.
- Continually improve their ability to explain the benefits your team offers in a variety of situations.
- Become better problem-solvers as they immerse themselves in the world of the affluent and discover the issues that are most important to them.
As a team member's comfort level with networking increases, so will his or her pride in being part of your team. And when the team meeting discussion switches to networking, the note taking will continue.
A Rainmaker goes anywhere, anytime to network with the people he or she wants to reach. Other team members can be more selective, focusing on opportunities that have a natural fit for them. The fact is, everyone networks. That's because we are naturally drawn to groups of people who share our interests and our concerns, and who include people and activities we enjoy.
There are two categories of groups that your team members can approach. The key is to help them be prepared to do so with strategic intent.
People are attracted to the activities, enjoyment, and prestige that social groups provide. Here are three examples of how your team members could approach social groups with greater strategic intent ...
- Instead of turning down wedding invitations, encourage team members to attend every one they can. Suggest that they ask the host to seat them at a table with individuals who are business and community leaders.
- Encourage team members to join a theatre group, sporting club, or hobby group where prospective affluent clients cluster. They should select ones they can enjoy - and become involved in activities that will hold their interest.
- Talk with team members about teaching a course, attending charitable fund-raisers, participating in a walk-a-thon, or attend a conference on a topic of interest to the affluent.
The possibilities are endless. The strategic intent is to actively network, always looking for a way to connect with the right people. The Business & Social Networking guidelines offered at the end of this newsletter further explain how to do that.
Community groups expand opportunities for connecting socially, and they add another dimension that is even more important. Here you will typically find people who identify with and actively contribute to the causes and principles the group represents. These groups emerge to serve a purpose, and the affluent often join so they can give back to their community.
The strategic intent here is for team members to become involved in activities that give them an opportunity to accomplish three things ...
- Attract attention through taking on responsibilities that build credibility - such as the chairperson of a committee or an event.
- Relate to people on their interest level and build rapport.
- Use organizational, leadership, and financial skills to serve a common cause.
Begin by meeting with one or two team members who are willing to tackle the networking challenge. Talk about where their natural networking opportunities lie, and help them select what their initial efforts will be. Give them a copy of the Business & Social Networking guidelines (below) and go over the 4 steps of successful networking with them. Finally, develop an accountability system to monitor their networking activity.
Networking is not selling. It's a lifestyle that key team members can learn to incorporate into everything they do. Successful networking involves four steps, and those steps are covered in detail in our Business & Social Networking guidelines. If you would like a free PDF version of our networking guidelines, go to: www.oechsli.com/PM50.
If you have any topic or special requests, please contact Rich Santos, publisher of Registered Rep and Trust & Estates magazines, at [email protected].